Shane Parmely, a San Diego middle school teacher, was detained for over an hour at a checkpoint in New Mexico after she refused to tell Border Patrol agents whether or not she was a United States citizen.
When Parmely and her family were stopped by Border Patrol, she was asked if she was a citizen, however, she refused to answer. Parmely, who teaches English, art and theater in California, posted videos to Facebook where she can be seen telling the officers she didn’t think she had to answer their questions.
At this point, one of the Border Patrol agents showed her a card stating immigration law and a Supreme Court case decision that give Border Patrol agents authority to operate checkpoints within 100 miles of the border and to ask questions about citizenship without warrants.
After a couple of minutes of arguing, an agent told her Parmley she was being detained.
As the agent continued to repeat his question, Parmely told him that he could ask her the question, but she didn’t have to answer.
“You are required to answer an immigration question,” the agent said. “You are not required to answer any other questions.” When Parmely refused to answer the question, the agent told her that she was being detained for an immigration inspection.
Later during the encounter, Parmely’s son asked to use the bathroom. One agent told Parmely that he could not use the bathroom until his mother answered the question about her citizenship. Another agent came over shortly after to escort the boy to a bathroom.
Border Patrol agents eventually let Parmely go without answering their question about her citizenship.
Mark Endicott, a spokesman for Border Patrol, issued a statement on the incident, saying the agency’s policy is to treat people with dignity and respect.
“Border Patrol checkpoints are a critical tool for the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws,” the statement said. “At a Border Patrol checkpoint, an agent may question a vehicle’s occupants about their citizenship, place of birth, and request document proof of immigration status, how legal status was obtained and make quick observations of what is in plain view in the interior of the vehicle.
“During the course of the immigration inspection, if an occupant refuses to answer an agent’s questions, the agent may detain the driver for a reasonable amount of time until he or she can make a determination regarding the occupant’s immigration status.”
Parmley posted the videos to Facebook on Friday, July 21, and while she was praised by most of the commenters, some thought she was disrespectful to law enforcement agents.